A Parent’s Guide to Bonfire Night

Bonfire night is one of the most exciting nights of the year, for children and adults! From fireworks to sparklers, toffee apples and other sweet treats, the story of Guy Fawkes and his plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament never fails to entertain.

Bonfire night is the highlight of winter, the last major event that signals the countdown to the festive season.

This handy parent’s bonfire night guide is perfect, whether you are going to an organised community bonfire and firework display, or enjoying a party with friends. Throw a magical night and be safe!

Bonfire night

Heading out? What to take with you…?

The hour may not be late but, you can rely on the great British weather to be cold, possibly raining with a chill wind too. To enjoy the night, you all need to have the right supplies because cold children are unhappy ones;

  • Layers of warm clothing – and extra, squirreled away in the boot of the car too. We all have memories of at least one bonfire night in which we stood shaking with cold, which takes the edge of the colourful display of fireworks. Small things make a big difference so hats, scarves and gloves all round.
  • Flasks of hot chocolate – a warm drink is the perfect way to keep the chill out and with hot chocolate everyone’s favourite drink, a hot flask or two should make it into your backpack.
  • Ear muffs – under rated we think, but perfect for kids to keep their ears warm. They are also a great idea for little ones who are not too keen on the bangs of fireworks.
  • Waterproofs – simply essential if it is wet…
  • Seasonal treats – from toffee apples to fudge, there are all kinds of tasty treats to keep adults and kids happy.

Safety tips

No parent’s guide to bonfire night would be complete without reminding ourselves of essential safety tips.

The aim is to have a great time but not takes risks. Sometimes, even with safety measures and a keen eye, children and adults do get hurt on bonfire night, at home, at friend’s and at community events too.

Being vigilant and always being ready to act is the first safety tip we would give, along with remind ourselves of other important safety issues;

  • Sparklers are fascinating but should not be given to children under five; any child with a sparkler should be carefully supervised and don’t forget that when the sparks have gone, the ‘stick’ remains very hot.
  • Children should wear gloves when they hold sparklers, and never more than one sparkler at a time.
  • Light one sparkler at a time too as once lit, they can be ferocious!
  • Have a bucket of water close by, placing each sparkler straight into the bucket as soon as they are spent
  • Keep a safe distance from bonfires and fireworks
  • Tuck in loose clothing – don’t allow scarves to flap about, for example
  • If you are throwing your own party, only buy fireworks and sparklers from a reputable supplier and, expect to pay a fair bit for fireworks that are of high quality. Cheaper imports are not always safe.
  • Teach kids how to stay safe too by spending time before hand talking through how to stay safe around fireworks and bonfires

Crank up the fun!

Bonfire night is not just about bonfires and fireworks; there are all kinds of activities and games too. In our parents’ guide to bonfire night, we have included games suitable for all ages;

Apple Bobbing

A firm favourite and perfect for creating big laughs! In a big bucket (width is more important than depth), fill it full of water. Place as many apples as you can in the bucket. Blindfold the player who has to catch as many apples as they can, using only their mouth… harder than it sounds!

Chalk posters

This is a simple craft activity, perfect for when cold kids need to warm inside the house but need some persuasion. Invest in black crepe paper and some fun coloured chalks, glitter pens, glitter and glue and have the children create a montage of bonfire night.

Firework Rockets

Wrap toilet roll tubes in tinfoil (or paint them), stick coloured pieces of paper all around (like streamers) and have a mini-competition to see how far their Firework Rockets can be thrown. Have some small prizes to thank everyone for taking part.

Story time

If you or someone you know has a great way of ‘spinning a yarn’, why not have the story of Guy Fawkes and his ill-fated plot told in dramatic fashion? A fun way to end the night!